Motte, Markstrom save Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 win over Blues

Tyler Motte #64 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Tyler Motte #64 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks needed scoring from their depth forwards and they got it in Game 5 when they needed it most.

Vancouver Canucks forward Tyler Motte scored his first two goals of the playoffs, opening the scoring in the game with a shorthanded goal and then game-winner to cap the comeback. Canucks forward Jake Virtanen scored the tying goal in the second period and added an assist, his first two points in the playoffs. Vancouver won Game 5 by a score of 4-3 and holds a 3-2 lead in this best of seven over the St. Louis Blues.

One strength for the Canucks that has been consistent all series long is the strong play from goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom stopped 36 of 39 Blues shots, including many of the highwire variety, to keep Vancouver in the game when they were down by two goals in the second period and preserving the win in the third. This was a game of momentum swings.

The Canucks charged right out of the opening faceoff on through most of the first. Holding the Blues without a shot on goal for the opening five minutes of the game and at one point holding an 8-3 shot advantage.

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17 seconds from being in the penalty kill for the first time in the game, the Canucks opened the scoring with Tyler Motte’s first goal of the night 13:15 into the first period.

While on the power play, Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo broke his stick on a shot attempt from the point. Motte gained possession of the puck. A stickless Pietrangelo attempted to defend Motte in the defensive zone but Motte stickhandled through Pietrangelo with a one-handed tap pass back to himself. Motte regained possession and sent a wrist shot over Blues starter Jake Allen‘s blocker side for the shorthanded goal.

After that goal, the Blues came storming back into this game and took full control. St. Louis finished that furious PP opportunity with no goal but scored shortly after to tie the game at 1.

With 29 seconds left to go in the period, Blues forward and Game 4 hero Ryan O’Reilly scored to put the Blues up 2-1. Blues forward Sammy Blais and defenseman Vince Dunn assisted on O’Reilly’s goal.

The Blues went into the locker room up 2-1 after the first period when the Canucks controlled most of the period, taking advantage of their short windows of opportunities. The Blues carried that momentum into the second period and controlled most of the play.

5:51 into the second period, Blues forward Zach Sanford scored a power play goal to give the Blues a two-goal lead. Blues forward Robert Thomas entered the offensive zone and passed to Sanford. Sanford works his way to the face-off dot and fired a wrist shot, using Canucks defenseman Edler as a screen for the score to put the Blues up 3-1. Blues forward Tyler Bozak was also credited with an assist on the goal.

St. Louis dominated the first 11 minutes play the second. Vancouver goaltender Jacob Markstrom made three key saves on forwards Bozak, Thomas, and Jacob de la Rose to keep the Canucks in the game. All of the saves were high leverage scoring chances from point-blank range in front of the net, giving the Canucks a chance to come back.

11:54 into the second, Vancouver would take momentum back for good on a goal from forward and team regular season scoring leader JT Miller. Miller did not quit on wrap around attempt, working the puck from under Blues goaltender Jake Allen before Allen could fully control the puck for a stoppage. The puck slipped inside the net for the score, cutting the Blues lead to 3-2. Canucks forwards Jake Virtanen and Elias Petterson assisted on the goal.

4:14 after Miller’s goal, Miller would set up Jake Virtanen for the tying goal. Elias Petterson passes to Miller from the corner to the faceoff dot. Miller quickly passes to Virtanen at the side of the net. Virtanen shots on goal at a tough side angle, the puck hits Jake Allen’s backside and into the net. Allen was hugging the post but leaned off slightly anticipating a pass in front of the net, allowing Virtanen’s shot to squeak in and tie game at 3.

Tyler Motte scored his second goal of the game with 1:43 left to go in the second period. Taking advantage of a puck deflected by a lineman in the neutral zone, Motte gained possession ahead of 2 Blues, races to the net and beats Allen blocker side for the 4-3 lead and eventual game winner.

Jacob Markstrom held the lead through the third period where the Blues won the shot battle 9-6 and had a late charge right until the final horn. The Blues have outshot the Canucks in every game of this series, by an average of 39 to 28, and Markstrom has not allowed more than 3 goals in any game.

J.T. Miller has scored a goal in the last 3 games and has recorded at least one point in every game this series. 4 goals and 7 total points for the series.

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The “road” team, or the team wearing white in this year’s playoffs, has won every game in this series. The Canucks have only scored four even-strength goals through the first 4 games of the series. In the second period alone they scored three to complete the comeback and take back control of this series. The defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues are now on the brink of elimination and will look to stay alive in Game 6 on Friday at 9:45 PM EST/6:45 PM PST.